Role for a web-based intervention to alleviate distress in people with newly diagnosed testicular cancer: mixed methods study
Publication Year 2022-10-28,Volume 8,Issue #4,Page e39725
Journal Title
JMIR Cancer
BACKGROUND: Distress is common immediately after diagnosis of testicular cancer. It has historically been difficult to engage people in care models to alleviate distress because of complex factors, including differential coping strategies and influences of social gender norms. Existing support specifically focuses on long-term survivors of testicular cancer, leaving an unmet need for age-appropriate and sex-sensitized support for individuals with distress shortly after diagnosis. OBJECTIVE: We evaluated a web-based intervention, Nuts & Bolts, designed to provide support and alleviate distress after diagnosis of testicular cancer. METHODS: Using a mixed methods design to evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, and impact of Nuts & Bolts on distress, we randomly assigned participants with recently diagnosed testicular cancer (1:1) access to Nuts & Bolts at the time of consent (early) or alternatively, 1 week later (day 8; delayed). Participants completed serial questionnaires across a 4- to 5-week period to evaluate levels of distress (measured by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer [DT]; scored 0-10), anxiety, and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score [HADS]-Anxiety and HADS-Depression; each scored 0-21). The primary end point was change in distress between consent and day 8. Secondary end points of distress, anxiety, and depression were assessed at defined intervals during follow-up. Optional, semistructured interviews occurring after completion of quantitative assessments were thematically analyzed. RESULTS: Overall, 39 participants were enrolled in this study. The median time from orchidectomy to study consent was 14.8 (range 3-62) days. Moderate or high levels of distress evaluated using DT were reported in 58% (23/39) of participants at consent and reduced to 13% (5/38) after 1 week of observation. Early intervention with Nuts & Bolts did not significantly decrease the mean DT score by day 8 compared with delayed intervention (early: 4.56-2.74 vs delayed: 4.47-2.74; P=.85), who did not yet have access to the website. A higher baseline DT score was significantly predictive of reduction in DT score during this period (P<.001). Median DT, HADS-Anxiety, and HADS-Depression scores reduced between orchidectomy and 3 weeks postoperatively and then remained stable throughout the observation period. Thematic analysis of 16 semistructured interviews revealed 4 key themes, "Nuts & Bolts is a helpful tool," "Maximizing benefits of the website," "Whirlwind of diagnosis and readiness for treatment," and "Primary stressors and worries," as well as multiple subthemes. CONCLUSIONS: Distress is common following the diagnosis of testicular cancer; however, it decreases over time. Nuts & Bolts was considered useful, acceptable, and relevant by individuals diagnosed with testicular cancer, with strong support for the intervention rendered by thematic analyses of semistructured interviews. The best time to introduce support, such as Nuts & Bolts, is yet to be determined; however, it may be most beneficial as soon as testicular cancer is strongly suspected or diagnosed.
WEHI Research Division(s)
Personalised Oncology
PubMed ID
Publisher's Version
Open Access at Publisher's Site
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Creation Date: 2022-10-31 10:39:58
Last Modified: 2022-10-31 10:44:25
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